Cleveland Browns @ Oakland Raiders -3
This game is essentially the Raiders season so I expect them to put up a good effort in this game. They have been leading going into the fourth quarter of each of their games and lost each one. I have also bet against them in each game and they went 2-1 doing so. I am going to continue to bet against them here. For all intents and purposes this game is the Raiders season. They need to win to have any chance at all to compete for the AFC west. They have gotten off to great starts every week and came so close to winning their past two games. They come back home to take on the lowly Browns who just got their first win in their last 20 games. For these reasons the Raiders find themselves favored by 3 points. I am still not sold on the Raiders. The Raiders were able to move the ball well and keep the Dolphins offense off the field en route to a 17-7 lead. The problem for the Raiders was that when the Dolphins offense was on the field they dominated. The Dolphins time of possession was only 21:29 but they gained 373 yards and averaged 9.6 yards per play. The only reason this game wasn’t a blowout was because the Dolphins kept letting the Raiders in the game with mistakes and penalties. They totaled 9 penalties for 74 yards including one crucial penalty on a 3rd down that turned a sack into a first down for the Raiders. This play allowed them to take 7 more minutes off the clock on a drive that got them a field goal and put them ahead 10-7 going into halftime. The Browns played last Thursday and looked rejuvenated when rookie QB Baker Mayfield entered the game. The Browns were having trouble moving the ball and found themselves down 14-0 when Tyrod Taylor exited the game due to a concussion. Baker was able to drive the Browns down for a field goal before half and then led them all the way back in the second half to cap off a 21-17 win. Although this was their first win of the year, the Browns have looked significantly improved through three games. Their defense has been outstanding and is currently ranked 4th in overall efficiency. I think this will be the difference as Oakland’s offense has not looked special through three games. Derek Carr has thrown only 2 TDs compared to 5 INTs. There is a ton of dysfunction also with coach Jon Gruden calling out Carr’s decision making to the media. The Raiders are a very public team and this is their season so I understand the spread the way it is. With that said there is no way I can be on the Raiders. They have looked atrocious thus far. Yes they are playing the Browns but I believe this is a different Browns team. They have looked great and I think Baker starting will be a jolt of energy for them. This is also Hue Jackson’s first game coaching against the team he was formerly a coach of. That should provide some extra motivation for the Browns in this matchup. My pick is the Browns +3 I think they win outright.